Lift the sails and let the deep waters of the Great Lakes as well as Michigan’s bounty of inland lakes tempt you to while away an afternoon against a backdrop of alluring scenery, mesmerizing sounds and amazing adventure. America’s third coast---Michigan’s 3,200-mile freshwater coastline---is a sailor’s delight. The Great Lakes--Huron, Michigan, Superior and Erie--and Lake St. Clair are spectacular on their own. Add sandy beaches, rocky and forested shores, historic lighthouses, populated and remote islands, waterfront villages and port cities—now you have an irresistible Michigan sailing adventure.
Old salts and landlubbers alike are tempted by the deep waters of the Great Lakes as well as Michigan’s bounty of beautiful inland lakes. For sloop or sunfish, services are plentiful. State, local and other governmental units administer more than 80 Great Lakes harbors and marinas, as well as public access sites on inland lakes. Private companies cater to sailors with charter yachts, transient dockage, fuel, dining, shopping and entertainment options.
Don’t know stem from stern? Sign up for lessons designed for beginning sailors through experienced navigators at schools such as Bay Breeze Yacht Charters in Traverse City or Scrimshaw Sailing Charters on Lake St. Clair.
Just want to relax and enjoy the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and the wide open waters? Regularly scheduled trips allow you to enjoy the relaxed, informal atmosphere that defines sailing. Choose from two-hour morning, afternoon and romantic sunset cruises aboard The Sunshine 2, a 45-foot cutter-rigged ketch that sails Lakes Charlevoix and Michigan. The Irish Wake, a six-passenger, 30’ Pearson, sets out from Pentwater to Lake Michigan for daily 90-minute morning, lunchtime, afternoon and sunset sails all summer long.
Sandy beaches, rocky and forested shores, historic lighthouses, populated and remote islands, waterfront villages and port cities--Michigan is an irresistible sailor’s paradise. New sailors, day trippers and old salts will enjoy this WJR podcast with Rod Call of Unsalted Sailing as he discusses a wide variety of sailing adventures available in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes.
Michigan is home to some very popular sail races including the Blue Water Fest, (July 11-15) and the Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, (July 14). Feel the excitement as experienced racers hoist their sails and brace for the start of some exhilarating contests of precision teamwork and speed.
For more Pure Michigan nautical information, visit our boating resources.